Brisbane, Feb 19: Former India skipper Ravi Shastri wants senior batsman Sachin Tendulkar to stay true to his game and “forget about the milestone” as the wait for his landmark 100th international century continues.
Dismissing notions that Tendulkar was out of form despite a modest average of 32 in seven international matches this Australian summer, Shastri urged the batsman to continue attacking the bowlers.
“If he just keeps the tempo going and forgets about the milestone, just treat the bowling on merit, he'll be fine,” Shastri was quoted as saying by the ‘Sydney Morning Herald'
Shastri detected a change in the batsman's tactics in the Melbourne and Sydney Tests, when he passed 50 with ease only to tighten up because of the situation.
“Two balls to go before stumps he was extra cautious in the last 10 minutes of play at the MCG. That means he changed his game from the way he was playing till he reached 70 and that brought about his downfall.
“Michael Clarke to get one to turn and take the outside edge? On another day he would have attacked Clarke. It's just the kind of dismissals we've seen with Tendulkar. Again, it's approaching the milestone.”
The man who was at the other end when the iconic batsman blasted a century as an 18-year-old at the SCG in 1992, felt Tendulkar was playing as well as any other player during the Test series.
“If you saw him batting in the first two Test matches, he was batting as well as any player from either side, if not better. It's just a case of the timing of his dismissal.
“I believe at times he's come close to a milestone ... he goes into a shell and plays differently as opposed to when he starts an innings. If he carries on in that fashion and maintains the tempo and forgets about the hundred, it will come,” Shastri said.
Expectations and interest over his impending 100th ton have been on the rise in the past few months.
“Indians are statistically obsessed whether you like it or not, and this is a milestone which no one else has achieved,” Shastri, who is part of the commentary team for the Australia tour, said.
“People used to talk in our era about people getting 100 first-class hundreds as a big achievement. This is 100 international hundreds, it's no joke. And I doubt anyone will achieve it in a long, long time so they will wait for this.”
Shastri said there's no question the weight of expectations is weighing Tendulkar down.
“That's the weight of expectation from the people of India, Australia. Anywhere he goes, the talk is of the 100th hundred. And he's human. He might not show it, he might not want to admit it, but let's face it, he's a human being and he would be feeling it from inside.”